Tuesday, May 09, 2006

American Idol 05/09/2006 Performances

I've been waiting for Elvis week for four seasons now, and the producers have finally come to their senses. My wish has come true. You see, dear readers, i am a second generation Elvis fan, my love for The King passed down to me and my sister by my mother, who would rent his movies and watch them with us, would by us our own greatest hits compilations (because we might break hers), and would tell us about what life was like when he was alive. Now it's my joy to pass that love down to my daughter. Thankfully, I have the help of my father-in-law, who will be watching his first ever episode of Idol tonight because of the theme. I'm so excited for him--he doesn't know what he's been missing! Anyway, we've been introducing Elvis to Cathryn, and now she sings "Devil in Disguise", complete with choreography, all around the house, in the car, basically, wherever she goes. I must say, it's a proud moment for my little performer to look up to the Ultimate Performer. If she doesn't follow his personal life, she'll be just fine.

With a two-decades long career, Elvis' oevre is varied enough that all of the finalists should be able to sing two songs sufficiently well. That being said, I worry for Elliott, who I am hoping makes it to the Final Three. He's got a great voice, but not the presence that the other three contestants have. If he wants to beat Katharine (his real competition--Taylor and Chris are already there, in my opinion), he will really need to step it up this week. Now--on with the show!

So they arrive at Graceland and I aadmit to getting chills as they pulled into the drive. This is an Elvis fan's dream. (Back me up on this, Lisa V.!) And then, The First Lady (no, not Laura Bush--she's not nearly as important) Priscilla greeta them at the front door. Dear Lord, what did she do to her hair? It's purply-red. Egads. My sister tried that same color back in her self-proclaimed "black period", referring to her memory and clothing choices, '99, and it didn't work for her, either. Priscilla would be wise to talk to my sister--she was much prettier with the dark blonde color she wore when she was on Dallas. After Chris succumbs to fanboy love and FREAKING HUGS Priscilla, they go inside and meet Tommy Mottolla, and I'm immediately concerned for Katharine, because she's got that cute young thang going on today and we all know that Tommy is all about the cute young thangs. Run, Kat! Save yourself! Cradle-robber Tommy tells us that Elvis is the reason that he went into the music business. Well, duh. Note to Tommy--almost everyone born after 1965 and before 1980 went into the music business either because of Elvis or The Beatles. So no big revelation there.

Back at the AI studio, we have Taylor in the audience signing "Jailhouse Rock" and wearing the fabric equivalent to Priscilla's hair. I was hoping for "Kentucky Rain", so maybe that will be his second song. Not that he's not doing a great job with this song. It's fun, the crowd's all involved, and he's neither dancing nor singing it like Elvis, which I think is a good idea to take away Elvis impersonator critiques. Randy and Paula admit that he was definitely in his element and that it was phenomenal. Simon, however, says that it was a horrible impersonation. Well, pooh to you, too.

Chris is singing "Suspicious Minds" and that thrills me to no end, though I can feel Lisa V. cringeing all the way from Andrews because this is her favorite Elvis song. It's also mine and Chris'. Onstage, he's wearing this wierd puffed-up wrinkly jacket and telling the world he wears boxer-briefs. He just scored himself like 50 million votes for that one sentence. (No, not from me. I found the statement to be a little on the TMI side.) Apparently, Cradle-robber thinks he should win. (Well, he didn't come out and actually say that, but it was in the subtext.) He's also wearing the huge Elvis aviator glasses, which balances out the ugliness of the jacket. Elvis week has brought out a different side to Chris--he's moving around the stage, not screaming, winking at the audience and generally having a good time. The judges love it. Me, too! What about you, Lisa?

I have never heard "I Can Dream", and this bothers me. I thought I had heard all of his songs. Anyway, Tommy is concerned for Elliott because apparently he can't remember the words. Hearing him sing, I'm doubly concerned. The vibrato is all over the place, and I'm afraid that he's going to get the dreaded Paula compliment "At least you look great!" because that's the best she can give him at this point. Whew. As the song came towards the end, it's loads better. Way to end on a strong point, E! The judges admit that they were worried, because he's coming in as the underdog, but it was the best so far. I don't really agree with this, but it could be because Chris freaking winked at me during his performance. He totally did!

Katharine chose a medley of "Hound Dog" and "All Shook Up". Tommy is all over her--she's beautiful, she's perfect, she can sing, she's going to make a lovely third (fourth?) wife someday. Ugh. Why in Chanel's name is she wearing a peasant blouse that looks like one of Santino Rice's unfinished Project Runway designs? That awful color green gives her that morning-sickness pallor. Blech. I feel like throwing up just by looking at it. At least her jeans are cute. Her performance is really good, right up until she FORGETS THE LYRICS! She does a cute twirl to disguise it, but honestly Kat, your mom is going to have your ass for that one. The judges completely call her on it, although Randy and Paula had a good time watching her.

Taylor's back with one of the two songs he was destined to sing from birth, "In The Ghetto". The second is "Georgia On My Mind", but nevermind that now. He's ecstatic about the song, and though it's not my favorite Elvis song (because it makes me cry), I can't help but be ecstatic, too. The passion for this song is evident is his vocal and his performance, he even continues to put a personal spin on it. I'm so proud of Taylor. Feels like his life has been building up to this moment. The judges all agree that it was perfect and that he just sung his way into the semi-finals. Huh? Don't they mean the finals? Anyway, that's not the issue.

The issue is that Chris is going to freaking sing the song that John Peter Lewis owned in Season Three. I'm nervous. But, wait--this is different that JPL's semi-final wonder. It's not an alt-rock cover, either, it's, pure, straight Elvis. He's dancing for real, and I am having an uncontrollable fit of the giggles, much like a twelve year old. This is sad--me, not him. He's fabulous. And winking again. Fine, reduce me to a pile of goo. You just do that. "Satisfy me?" Hell, yeah! Randy and Paula are all over it, because he sand them into piles of goo as well, but Simon says that he thought "Suspicious Minds" was better.

Elliott is going to sing "Trouble", which is what Carrie sang last year during Leiber and Stoler night. And I think it will be just as believeable (not) because Elliott, like Carrie, is about as dangerous as a teddy bear. Once he gets into the song, though, I can tell that it's a much more grown-up arrangement of the song. It's more bluesy and less cutesy. This is a vast imporvement over "I Can Dream". Randy, Paula, and Simon all agree that this was his best performance ever, and he should defintely go through to the next round. Yay! As long as he doesn't steal Chris's spot.

Katharine, from what I can see before the break is wearing this great suit. I can only hope that she's wearing some awesome red heels to match the belt. But, I have to remember that this is Kat, Queen of Sartorial Sadness, so she's probably wearing cork platform sandals or something. Back from the break, I immediately retract my statement, because the suit is all crinkly and her stomach is showing. At least the shoes are cute, if black. Her song? Umm...a not-so-good rendition of "Can't Help falling In Love". She's all over the place, and may have booked her plane ticket home. At least it won't be Elliott.


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